A Functional Approach to the Choice between Descriptive, Prescriptive and Proscriptive Lexicography

Henning Bergenholtz, Rufus H. Gouws

Abstract


ABSTRACT: In lexicography the concepts of prescription and description have been employed for a long time without there ever being a clear definition of the terms prescription/prescriptive and description/descriptive. This article gives a brief historical account of some of the early uses of these approaches in linguistics and lexicography and argues that, although they have primarily been interpreted as linguistic terms, there is a need for a separate and clearly defined lexicographic application. Contrary to description and prescription, the concept of proscription does not have a linguistic tradition but it has primarily been introduced in the field of lexicography. Different types of prescription, description and proscription are discussed with specific reference to their potential use in dictionaries with text reception and text production as functions. Preferred approaches for the different functions are indicated. It is shown how an optimal use of a prescriptive, descriptive or proscriptive approach could be impeded by a polyfunctional dictionary. Consequently arguments are given in favour of monofunctional dictionaries.

OPSOMMING: 'n Funksionele benadering tot die keuse tussen deskriptief, preskriptief en proskriptief in die leksikografie. In die leksikografie is die begrippe preskripsie en deskripsie lank gebruik sonder dat daar 'n duidelike definisie van die terme preskripsie/ preskriptief en deskripsie/deskriptief was. Hierdie artikel bied 'n kort historiese oorsig oor sommige van die vroeë gebruike van hierdie benaderings in die taalkunde en die leksikografie, en redeneer dat, alhoewel hulle primêr as taalkundige terme geïnterpreteer is, daar 'n werklike behoefte bestaan aan 'n afsonderlike en duidelik omskrewe leksikografiese toepassing. In teenstelling met deskripsie en preskripsie, het die begrip proskripsie nie 'n taalkundige tradisie nie, maar is primêr op die terrein van die leksikografie ingevoer. Verskillende tipes preskripsie, deskripsie en proskripsie word bespreek met spesifieke verwysing na die potensiële gebruik in woordeboeke met teksresepsie en teksproduksie as funksies. Voorkeurbenaderings vir die verskillende funksies word aangedui. Daar word gewys hoe 'n optimale gebruik van 'n preskriptiewe, deskriptiewe en proskriptiewe benadering benadeel kan word deur 'n polifunksionele woordeboek. Gevolglik word argumente ten gunste van 'n monofunksionele woordeboek gegee.

Sleutelwoorde: DESKRIPSIE, DESKRIPTIEF, ENSIKLOPEDIES, FUNKSIES, KOGNITIEWE FUNKSIE, KOMMUNIKATIEWE FUNKSIE, MONOFUNKSIONEEL, POLIFUNKSIONEEL, PRESKRIPSIE, PRESKRIPTIEF, PROSKRIPSIE, PROSKRIPTIEF, SEMANTIES, TEKSPRODUKSIE, TEKSRESEPSIE


Keywords


COGNITIVE FUNCTION; COMMUNICATION FUNCTION; DESCRIPTION, DESCRIPTIVE; ENCYCLOPAEDIC, FUNCTIONS, MONOFUNCTIONAL; POLYFUNCTIONAL; PRESCRIPTION; PRESCRIPTIVE; PROSCRIPTION; PROSCRIPTIVE; SEMANTIC; TEXT PRODUCTION; TEXT RECEPTION

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/20-0-131

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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